Pirates vow revenge after three killed

US Navy snipers freed the American cargo-ship captain being held at gunpoint in a daring rescue last night. Three Somali pirates were killed in the operation. The dramatic outcome to the high-seas drama will be seen as a victory for the world’s most powerful military but one that is unlikely to diminish piracy off the African coast.

The pirates vowed to retaliate for the deaths of their colleagues, raising fears for the safety of more than 230 foreign sailors held hostage in more than a dozen ships anchored off Somalia.

The conclusion to the five-day standoff came in a nighttime assault yesterday after a pirate on the lifeboat holding Richard Phillips, 53, aimed an AK-47 assault rifle at his back.

The rescue follows a shootout at sea on Friday by French navy commandos, who stormed a pirate-held yact, Tanit, killing two pirates, and freeing four French hostages. The French owner of the vessel was killed in the assault.